The latest lawsuit that seeks to force New Jersey to recognize gay marriage will soon be going before a judge for the first time.

State Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg has scheduled a hearing for Friday on the state's motion to have the suit dismissed. The state Attorney General's Office says the matter is already settled.

The state Supreme Court ruled five years ago that New Jersey had to give committed gay same-sex couples all the legal rights and benefits that married couples have -- but said it didn't have to recognize gay marriage.

Lawmakers chose to create civil unions instead. Seven gay and lesbian couples and many of their children  sued in June, claiming that civil unions don't offer equal protections -- largely because people don't understand them.